Tag Archives: fireball pearls

Gem show day

Opening day for the Gem show. Since I had the bulk of what I wanted already this was a nice day to browse and select just those few unusual items which make the trip even more worthwhile.

I’m not a huge akoya pearl person. There are too many people who specialise in a very specialised market where competition is fierce and often comes down to price…in which ccase the big expert boys can bulk buy and get better deals. At the other end it is all too easy to be sold some cheap shiny beads with a microns thick layer of nacre which will disappear within a year. That is sadly the end of the market where the discount sellers operate. Since buyers are almost invariably disappointed with their bargain pearls we can all end up tarnished with that same brush.

With pearls there really are no surprise bargains. Everyone really does know the price of what is being sold.

HOwever, I’ve been happy to dip a toe in the outskirts of the akoya market with some of the more unusual colours and baroque which I can get for a great price.

So I was really pleased to spot these few really strongly coloured (natural colours) rainbow greyish Vietnamese rounds from Spica.

vietnamese akoya pearls

Very colourful Vietnamese akoya pearls

A lot of browsing around the rows of Akoya stands and I found these lovely creamy akoya. Bigger, and each a different colour, one quite pinky and another almost buttermilk. Again natural colours

cream to buttermilk natural colour akoyas

cream to buttermilk natural colour akoyas

Plenty of dyed grey, some black and many dyed gold akoya around as well as white white. Both pinked and unpinked. But no natural pastel multicoloureds this time.

Since by this time I had been walking up and down for about three hours I decided to sit down at the home of Edison pearls with my friend Cicie who set me to ‘play about’ with some really nice Edison rounds. I can’t help it, Put pearls in front of me and I make pairs. These were lush colours and besides finding a couple to add in to my March birthday present to me necklace I found the earring pair .. and a coupe more. Looking at Edison rounds. Bliss.

edison pearls

my earring pair. 13.5

edison pearls

These haven’t come out well, they are in fact a deep purple. With no trace of brown.

Finally. Having bemoaned the ear wax yellow of dyed south sea and freshwater pearls I spotted these fireballs. Haggle haggle with perhaps the wimpiest haggler I’ve ever met (I stopped before he paid me to take them away but only just) I got these two strands just for funness

dyed gold fireballs

dyed gold fireballs



Day Two – Tahitians, South Seas and Fireballs

Day two in Hong Kong and it’s still raining heavily. I squelched out (literally – when I got back to the hotel at 6.30 this evening I found that the dye from my sandals had turned my feet black) and went first to a Tahitian and South Sea specialist wholesalers to find the perfect pearls for a commission necklace.

The very best  bit about being a pearl purveyor is, for me, selecting pearls.

I went through just about every strand in the office first..nah, just not good enough, or not green enough or not colourful enough. Just not enough enough.

Plan B is to open up the lots. Now some dealers won’t do this. The bags of pearls are sorted into size, shape and quality. Prices reflect an average, while the bag is salted with some fabulous pearls to brighten the lot.

So the dealer doesn’t want me coming along and cherry picking those fabulous pearls right back out. The value of the lot drops.

But I can be a little bit pursuasive and the bags found themselves opened up and two pearl fugue hours later I had the necklace. 30 beautiful, colourtful, lustrous and smooth circle pearls.

Special necklace made from  individually selected. loose drop Tahtians, very colourful, near flawless and with great lustre. 28 pearls, size 13-14mm

Special necklace made from individually selected. loose drop Tahtians, very colourful, near flawless and with great lustre. 28 pearls, size 13-14mm

Not finished, I picked out some rather nice if a bit dented circles and some totally cute baby gold south sea circles.

tahitians and south sea pearls

Hours of intense concentration later – one loose pearl necklace, tahitian strands and pairs and gold south sea circle strands.


And then more lovely treats – pairs of huge rounds for earrings. And one beautiful really blue tahtian.

tahitian pearl strands

Some of the selected strands – I was looking for colour and lustre more than surface perfection and shape

Then on to a second wholesalers, this time for drops. I didn’t worry too much about finding pairs, just selecting some super metallic 10mm drops – white, black and natural colours. Some of the natural colour pearls have a graduated ombre effect. subtle and beautiful and such lustre. Last year there was a real lack of lavenders, and hardly any dark lavender. There were a few, but only a few. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some more as we go along.

Finally, having a poke around in a side office I found a bag with some natural colour fireballs. I’ve never figured quite why they are soooooo expensive but they are. I couldn’t resist half a dozen of them. (put many more back #pearlheroine )

fireball pearls

First and second stages of selection for fireballs from a huge bag of them

fireball pearls

The final two


That was enough for one day….